by Leibniz (a.k.a Mr. X)
For those of you who are not tuned in to the day-to-day activities of the “community” at PCC, some significant events occurred this past week in the ever-expanding public debate between The Student Voice and the PCC philosophy. In Monday’s chapel (11/19), at which most of the faculty were present, Dr. Horton spoke for 15 minutes criticizing and judging The Student Voice for “piously promot[ing] rebellion against the policies of the college” and for our “twisted, pious approach to nullify [all] authority. . . at PCC.”
After that, Dr. Mutsch delivered a message on rebellion that went 20 or so minutes past the scheduled ending time. With all due respect, these comments were a horrendous mischaracterization of not only what The Voice has said, but also what The Voice believes and is all about.
Just in case there are any questions as to accuracy, let it be noted that by Wednesday morning, a cassette tape of Dr. Horton’s and Dr. Mutsch’s statements was on my desk. Therefore, I will be quoting them often, and these quotes are not simply paraphrases that have been sent by someone else. I wanted to include the entire transcript here in this issue, but due to both its length and the fact that all of the students have already heard the statements, we will make the transcript available to anyone who wants it, and we encourage you to request it so that you may fairly weigh the evidence presented by both sides to come to a reasoned and intelligent conclusion. Dr. Mutsch’s statements are not ready yet, and due to the Thanksgiving holiday this week, they probably will not be ready until after the next issue is sent out. However, we do have Dr. Horton’s statements ready in a verbatim transcript, and since these are really the statements that matter, we encourage you to request them. We will also make the transcripts and/or this
issue available by U.S. mail if that would be preferable, or if there are others who do not have e-mail access, but would be interested in the dialogue. If you are a student, we can send it to your box in a manner so as not to draw any attention to the contents inside – receiving a letter does NOT involve “actively participating in” rebellion. This will be discussed and developed later in this essay.
[We should note to the administration that tampering with, or removing the U.S. mail with the intention of prying into its contents is a CRIMINAL OFFENSE under the U.S. Code, Title 18, section 1702.]
By the way, we would like to note for the record that while PCC feels it is ok to criticize us openly, they have never addressed us personally as they often complain about us not doing. Granted, we are anonymous, but we do have fairly well-known e-mail address. . . .
We want to now address several very important areas in which there seems to be some misunderstanding. We are going to try to keep this discussion focussed specifically on the comments and ideas discussed by Dr. Horton. Let us preface these remarks with a couple of comments. First, for the administration to take the drastic measures that have been taken is an indication that, regardless of whether or not we are right, we have touched a very sensitive spot. Second, we believe that Dr. Horton and Dr. Mutsch are men of high reputation and a true love for God; this is not a personal matter, but an ideological one. Third, we have no intention of stopping The Student Voice; in fact, we are in the process of working on ways to expand this into a larger, nation-wide publication, and despite the numerous attempts of PCC to shut us down, we have done nothing but expand from day one, and this past week’s events have actually helped us to gain more members of the PCC community, as well as people from other Christian and secular colleges who are taking an interest into this fascinating realm of Christianity.
Perhaps what we should have done from the very beginning was to lay out our basic core values and beliefs in everything that we should have, and could have anticipated as being controversial. We have tried to do this in a more intellectual way, but it seems many of the concepts are not getting through. If the president of PCC does not understand what was probably our most straightforward issue, then who knows what other confusion is present among the readers. Therefore, in this issue we will discuss the following seven topics, paying particularly close attention to what was said by Dr. Horton on Monday, November 19th:
We recognize that being anonymous is rather difficult to swallow, perhaps, but there are very specific reasons why we wish to remain anonymous. First, we feel that since the sentiments we discuss are not simply our own, but rather are those held by other students, faculty, alumni, Christian school administrators, Christian school teachers, church leaders and pastors, our identities are at best a moot point. The fact is that if PCC were to announce to the world tomorrow who Leibniz and lupos are, we would still continue to put out The Voice in exactly the same manner as we have done so far.
Secondly, due to the connections that PCC has throughout the country in fundamentalist circles, as compared to our relative anonymity – no pun intended – we do not wish to be “blackballed” within the fundamentalist community at this point in time. Perhaps once we have retained an audience sufficient to counter the audience of PCC, then perhaps at that time we may divulge our identities.
Third, Dr. Horton stated that “If the person doesn’t have the courage to sign his name, then he has a problem, and what he has to say is probably worthless, twisted or a lie.” We would not necessarily disagree with this general principle, but since a principle is not static, it must be applied specifically to each situation. Courage is not an issue. Confronting PCC should allay any thoughts that we lack courage. This is two people with few resources, except the power of our ideas versus a multi-million dollar, nationally known organization – we lack courage? As for a problem – yes, we do have a problem with PCC’s arrogance and repression, and that is precisely what The Voice is all about. We will continue to discuss our problems, as well as those of others until we see some reform, or a reason not to reform
besides the school’s normal idiosyncratic reasons. Is what we say “worthless”? If it is, then we hardly think Dr. Horton would have devoted 15 minutes to our writings. Is what we say “twisted”? Read it along with the Scripture, and determine that for yourself, not because someone else says it is. Is what we say “a lie.” No.
Despite the clamoring for us to reveal our identities, we do not feel it would be appropriate or wise at this time.
Although we have written on a variety of topics, Dr. Horton dealt almost exclusively with the issue of authority. His analysis of our writings on this issue (particularly, Issue 1, No. 1) was completely off-base. In fact, I couldn’t believe it when I heard it. I obviously can’t say for sure, but it sounded to me as if Dr. Horton never actually read the entire essay, but perhaps had someone else give him an excerpt or two and perhaps a quick summary – a bad one at that.
Dr. Horton’s analysis and conclusion of our belief regarding authority was essentially that we believe PCC has NO authority to do anything it does. This is a terrible reading of The Voice. He also disagreed with our Scriptural basis for authority by stating that our position was that if authority is not specifically enumerated in the Bible, then it is illegitimate. This is even a worse reading of The Voice. So, let’s explore these ideas. . . .
1.) Scriptural Basis. Our fundamental belief is that all authority comes from God. Period. Therefore, any use of authority must be traceable back to God through PRINCIPLES He has given to us in Scripture – not grants specifically enumerated in the Bible. Romans 13:1 states, in part, that
“there is no power [authority] but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” Now, this does not mean that because there is no recorded mention of authority being given to private colleges, they therefore have no authority.
One of the principles that we laid out very specifically was that one of the
grants of authority given by God is that which is vested in us as individuals – remember the Declaration of Independence: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? We have the authority to give up our rights and authorities to other individuals for their rights and authorities in exchange. This is called a covenant or a contract. There is a contract between PCC and the student whereby the student gives up some (many) of his rights in exchange for an education and the privileges that come with that. PCC’s authority
comes from the individual’s bargaining in exchange for certain things. This is as Biblical as can be, yet Dr. Horton accuses us of teaching a “twisted doctrine of authority.” If our doctrine is “twisted,” then talk to the One who devised the system – God.
Dr. Horton used the analogy of a sports organization to illustrate why our reasoning was faulty. He said, “Let’s look at Mr. X’s concept of authority in an example situation of life: since it is not recorded in Scripture that God gave authority to sports organizations, thus any authority in the area of sports, according to Mr. X, is illegitimate and invalid. Therefore, no one really has to obey game rules and regulations because God never gave authority to athletic organizations. Now, wouldn’t that be
Well, yes, that would be something. However, this is based on an incorrect reading of our essay on authority. In fact, this is probably one of the EASIEST situations to demonstrate the principle of our authority to exchange rights. Let’s say I am an NFL quarterback (don’t I wish. . . .). I may hate the rule against intentional grounding, and when I play in my backyard with my two sons, we NEVER follow this rule. Why? Because we have the authority as individuals to play the game by ourselves however we want to. Now, when I put on my uniform and take the field for the NFL team, I have contractually given up my right to play the game without the intentional grounding rule in exchange for the benefits of playing in the NFL. Since I receive a paycheck from the NFL, I MUST ABIDE BY ITS RULES. This is completely Biblical (refer to the examples given in the essay). Just because the NFL was not specifically given authority in Scripture does not mean it is without authority, because our authority as individuals to bargain and devise the sport and business of professional football was.
This is ridiculous and a terrible reading of the clearly enunciated principles laid out in the essay. Now, no one would accuse me of rebelling against the system if all I did was voice my opposition against the intentional grounding rule. In fact, in secure organizations, they welcome this. You and I have every right to disagree with a rule at PCC. Unfortunately, most of the people on the administration do not seem to be able to grasp the concept that disagreement is different than disobeying. But we’ll keep trying. . . .
Now, we think that PCC has the right to make just about every rule it has made, and in fact, has the legitimate authority to do so. Please let this be clear. Also, let me quote from the Introductory Letter what is #6 of our basic position: “If a rule, regulation or policy is invalid or illegitimate, this does not mean it can be disregarded if the student has agreed to abide by it.”
2.) The rule against devotions. One of the rules enacted at PCC is that students may not have “devotions” in or outside the Commons. This is supposedly based on Matthew 6:5,6 where Christ is teaching the “Sermon on the Mount,” and He speaks of the hypocrites who pray in the public places to be seen of men. Christ says that we should go to our closet and pray in secret. Therefore, based on this, PCC – a Christian college – has banned “devotions” in certain public areas (image?). However, Dr. Horton says that it is ok to read your Bible and “discuss Bible verses” in these areas, because “there is quite a difference” between just reading your Bible and having devotions.
Now, I have several problems with not only this reading of the passage, but also its application by Dr. Horton. First, the passage never refers to “devotions,” but rather speaks only of “prayer.” The Greek word for prayer, for all of you Bible scholars, is “proseuchomai,” which simply means to pray or wish for, as we commonly think of it. Devotions is not the same thing as prayer, although devotions should include prayer. This is a classic “PCC interpretation” – one that fits its own interests, but not the clear meaning of Scripture. Before that, Christ spoke of giving alms, and we could not
properly conclude that this also meant anything other than “giving alms.” If Christ had meant to include devotions, He would have said so.
This reading of Scripture would also ban “prayer groups.” Prayer groups involve corporate “devotions” and public prayer, and this seems to be contrary to Dr. Horton’s notion of “closet prayer.” The question I have is how does the administration determine when it is ok to pray “outside” the closet and when it is ok to pray “inside” the closet? Are there any standards for a student to determine this? Or is it simply another poorly thought, badly interpreted, non-existent principle of Scripture that the
school has simply “twisted” to meet its own agenda?
The second problem I have is with its application. The rule seems to be that it is ok to read the Bible, but once it changes from simply “reading” to “devotions,” it becomes a sanctionable offense. When does “reading” the Bible become “devotions”? What is the magical event that transforms one into the other? Prayer? Dr. Horton says that the two are clearly different, but upon what standards are the students to judge the difference? And how is someone who intends to enforce the rule to know whether the person sitting outside the Commons is simply “reading” or actually having “devotions”? This is the type of absurdity that we want to see done away with. The only practical affect this will have is to discourage students from reading their Bible in public at all, and is this the testimony PCC wants? In order to avoid the potential liability, students will simply choose not to read their Bible at all in these public places. This sort of reminds me of the former Soviet Union’s constitutional “religious freedom” clause. It supposedly allowed for religious freedom, but this was simply “religious freedom on the government’s terms.”
Another problem with its application is the apparent contradiction in Dr. Horton’s statements regarding “mixed” couples. He said that “couples who want to have devotions should go to the social hall where there is a semi-private atmosphere.” Wait a minute. . . . Dr. Horton just got through stating that devotions were to be done “in the closet” – in private. A “semi-private” atmosphere is NOT a closet; although “semi-private,” it is still public. Which is it, Dr. Horton? The closet? Or the semi-private
atmosphere? You can’t have it both ways. If the “principle” is that we must have our devotions in the “closet,” then you have no right or authority to say that it is ok to do it in public, even if it is “semi-private.” Yet if you say that it is ok to have them in public under certain circumstances, then upon what principles do you define the “circumstances” – the difference between the social hall and the commons? Christ didn’t make the distinction between “somewhat public” and “very public,” so why do you?
What PCC is doing is treading on very dangerous grounds here. It has gotten so caught up in itself and its ability to dictate to everyone else what the Bible says, that it has forgotten to actually consider what the Bible says. It has taken a principle of Scripture and made it mean something different than what it clearly means in order to make it fit PCC’s own agenda. This is so contradictory it is almost embarrassing to think that it came from people who are to be teaching students “higher thought.”
We are still of the belief that because of the reasons stated, and because no one has the authority to limit where, on your own time, you can and cannot read your Bible and pray, this rule is a blatant abuse of authority. HOWEVER, since the president of PCC has misread our writings, it is therefore quite possible to assume that a student could also misread our encouragement to disregard this rule by taking it much farther than he has a right to do. Therefore, TO MAINTAIN A PEACEFUL ENVIRONMENT ON CAMPUS, WE ARE
RETRACTING OUR REQUEST THAT THIS RULE BE VIOLATED. STUDENTS – PLEASE ABIDE BY THIS RULE.
And to the administration – consider what we have said. The best thing for you to do is to also retract this rule, and let the “hypocritical student” answer to God himself. It is not for you to be imposing sanctions for “devotions.” Think about that. . . .
Another indication that Dr. Horton had never read our newsletter is indicated by this statement: “I was given a copy of his e-mail, called “StudentV. . . .” Well, as anyone knows who has read The Voice, our e-mail is not called “StudentV;” rather, the two primary writers are Leibniz and lupos, and the e-mail is called “The Student Voice” or “The Voice.” This, of course, is not an extremely important matter, but we do not refer to ourselves as “StudentV.” This is simply the screen name I chose when I set
up the account with America On Line.
Also, the title, “Mr. X” is quite interesting. In fact, it almost raises us to mythical proportions, and we see no need for this. While we have been called many names so far, and we anticipate being called many other ones in the future, we would appreciate it if you would refer to us by our established names.
Another sticky aspect about The Student Voice is the fact that we put out an “underground newsletter.” But think about it – if PCC had an adequate system of addressing concerns (I’m sorry, but going to a dean or residence manager is not an ADEQUATE system of addressing concerns; I am talking about
a check on the fallibility of a human administration), then there would be no need for The Voice. The policies of the school have made this one of only a few methods of disseminating ideas, at least it is a method that results in little exposure to the outside world.
However, as long as PCC continues to push us out of the school, we will be forced to take it to the outside world. Remember, PCC believes it stands for “truth and righteousness,” and if this is true, then we don’t see what the problem is of letting the rest of the world know about what goes on inside the gates of PCC. But it’s none of their business, you might say. When an institution is influencing millions of people around the world, it is the world’s business. Besides, the truth is always everyone’s business…
Another aspect that makes us relevant is that PCC has no student-run campus newspaper. What other school doesn’t have a newspaper? Oh yeah, “PCC does not have to be like other colleges or organizations.” This is true, but where are we going to draw the line? This line seems to be running further and further away from reasonableness each year. Of course PCC should be different, but PCC should be different because it produces a superior product, not because it has more restrictions than anywhere else on the planet (except maybe China). A student-run newspaper is another thing that would render The Voice moot. We also would be content to distribute this newsletter to only the PCC community, but as long as PCC is going to do everything they can to keep us out, we will resort to other methods.
Dr. Horton stated, “My guess is Mr. X is not interested in building anything, but rather his interest is tearing down and destroying what God has built.” Hmmm. Is that why we have offered HELPFUL suggestions on how to make things BETTER? We in no way want to “destroy” PCC; we simply think that PCC is not as effective for Christ as it can be. We want to see the administration lighten up a little and let students be mature adults. When students are treated like mature adults, they will start thinking like mature adults and will have a greater impact on our world (remember, I was a student too. . .). It is a spiritual battleground out there, and the forces arrayed against us are very complex. When Christians spend most of their time worrying over pettiness and every possible restriction that could be brought to bear on a student body for the benefit of the school’s image, this takes up precious energy and time from being used to really prepare men and women for God’s work. PCC should be a center of superior Christian research and intellectual publications. A Beka Books is a good step, but our society needs more than this, and PCC has the ability to be able to provide the world with top-notch speakers and writers – professors respected around the world.
Why can’t people look to PCC and instead of saying, “Oh yeah, that’s the place with the pink and blue sidewalks,” say, “Oh yeah, I read a book by one of their professors about this or that. . .”? That’s what we are talking about. “Destroying”? We don’t think so. . . . Remember, alumni have been there and have seen the system as well as what’s beyond the system. Those in the administration have not seen the “outside” in a long time, if at all. We are not as ignorant or as full of bad ideas as you might think.
As long as PCC restricts the minds of its students from reaching their fullest potential, how can we expect the cause of Christ to reach its fullest potential?
Dr. Horton stated, “In doing so, he piously promotes rebellion against the policies of the college, and he twists the truth to put PCC in a bad light, to stir up discord on campus.” PCC’s main problem with us, we believe, besides our threat to their tidy image, is that we are rebellious and want others to rebel. This is completely false.
First, let me deal with the issue of “sowing discord.” The “discord” that is present on campus is not due to us simply vocalizing some very un-original sentiments. The ideas we express are already resent, they just haven’t had a way of being coordinated. We believe that the primary source of “discord” on campus is the system that pits student against student. You don’t think when some sophomore hot-shot comes up to a senior and tells him to go put a belt on, and is encouraged by the administration to do so, he is not “stirring up discord”? Well, he is just following the rules set by the college, you might say. Exactly. The rules are the source of much of the discord. I have never seen more discord between people anywhere than I did during my four years at PCC. It was natural. I was always protective and defensive, no matter how hard I tried not to be.
PCC’s system sets up a breeding ground for discord. I also see the same thing in many Christian schools, particularly ones influenced by PCC’s ideology. If a student acts as a blind sheep and merely follows along with the pack mentality, then that student will be fine. But when a student wishes to explore and ask the forbidden question – Why? – he is naturally hurled into a system that is, of its very essence, one of discord. So, don’t talk to us about “sowing discord” until the system is changed to PREVENT discord among the brethren instead of encouraging it.
Second is the issue of pure rebellion. Other than our position on the rule against devotions (which we have retracted), we have strongly urged students to OBEY the rules at PCC. As a student, regardless of how ridiculous a rule is, as long as it doesn’t cause you to violate a directive of Scripture, then you must comply. This raises the issue of morality, though. Many at PCC have stated that the system of demerits is not based on “morality” – i.e., what is “right” and what it “wrong.” We disagree. But if
this is true, then violating a rule will not necessarily implicate moral liability. For instance, if the rule against studying after lights out (this is college, isn’t it???) has nothing to do with morality, then a student may break the rule if he or she needs the extra time to study more than he or she doesn’t need the demerits. Well, we hope you see the dilemma.
The rules are all about morality – not necessarily that each rule is what is right or wrong in and of itself, but that following it or not does implicate moral responsibilities. Therefore, a student may not refuse to follow them. We have made this clear numerous time (as stated in the “Authority” section). We fail to see how this makes us “rebellious.” We think it is an indication that those who judge us of rebellion do not really understand rebellion.
We have tried and tried to demonstrate that DISAGREEING with something does not equal REBELLION, yet this is the logical inference that Dr. Horton and the PCC administration have drawn. We encourage students to think and to discuss the rules and policies, NOT to break them. There is a clear difference between the two.
Take the NFL example again. . . . No one would accuse me of being “rebellious” if I simply disagreed with the intentional grounding rule, but followed it in the games. Even if I was an ardent supporter of revising the rules to do away with intentional grounding, no one could accuse me of rebelling against it until I refused to follow it (and got myself killed by a 300 lb. lineman. . .). You see, you can’t just accept the black-and-white analysis of PCC’s social structure. You must understand that PCC is extremely vague in many of its directives, and this will require you to think about the underlying concepts. That The Student Voice is rebellious is what is told you by PCC, but wait a minute – what does “rebellion” entail? Well, it involves disregarding the rules set up by the college. Is that what we are advocating? Not at all. Therefore, The Student Voice is NOT rebellious, and Dr. Horton is mistaken.
We would like to quickly discuss Dr. Horton’s remarks regarding the sanctions for “actively participating” in The Student Voice. Consider what he said: “I am instructing the dean’s and their staff to be highly sensitive, especially regarding participating or involvement in the underground ‘StudentV,’ which is a means of protest against PCC. Those actively participating and involved in the underground ‘StudentV’ will be dealt with according to the Student Handbook, page 36, and I quote, ‘participating in
unauthorized petition, demonstration, protest or riot – 150 demerits.'” Now, put aside the substantive issues for a moment – this is exactly the type of thing that needs to be changed. What in the world does “actively participating” and “involved” mean? Does it mean talking about it? Does it mean writing us and expressing ideas? Does it mean simply reading it? PCC does a horrible job of letting the students know what is prohibited and what is not. It’s just like the “devotions” versus “reading” question – there are no standards to judge what is acceptable and what is not. For an institution that prides itself on its “high standards,” it does a poor job of making these standards very clear. We think that the administration owes the student body an explanation regarding what is “active participation” so that it may know what it is that is prohibited. For those of you who may have never attended PCC, this is the way the system works – there is an extremely vague “standard” on the books, and when a student does something that he thinks is ok, someone else may not think it is ok, and so the student gets sanctioned for it. Pretty fair, huh?
This is precisely the type of thing that we want to see changed in the PCC system. Does this mean we want to see PCC become like “other colleges”? Not at all. Does this mean that we want PCC to move away from its “Christian separation”? Of course not. What it means is that there are some obvious improvements that need to be made, but yet the administration is, for some reason, reluctant to make them. Therefore, we will continue to point out these problems and hope that soon, PCC realizes that we are here to help, not hurt.
We greatly respect Dr. Horton. He has brought up a great work. However, the system that has been created is one in which power and arrogance feeds internally upon itself. It is obvious to most people, et when a human institution insulates itself from any checks or balances, it will naturally fall into decay. It will naturally lose its fundamental purpose and reason for existence. We want to be that check, and we want to see some much sought after change take place at PCC. It may take time, but we have plenty of it. It may take ideas, but we are full of them. And it may take cooperation, but there are plenty of students, faculty and alumni who can see through the facade of PCC and who are eager to help us.
Dr. Horton, we ask that if you are going to characterize us in a certain way, that you do it by reading our writings yourself, and not by getting someone else’s synopsis. Besides, the synopsis was so off and so misplaced, that whoever gave it to you ought to be reprimanded for giving you false information and being incapable of comprehending some basic ideas. This is not meant to be mean, but there needs to be some standard of reputability….and we all want high standards, don’t we???